Chapter

Storming the Work: Allegory and Theatricality in Benjamin’s Origin of the German Mourning Play

Samuel Weber

in Theatricality as Medium

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print December 2004 | ISBN: 9780823224159
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823235841 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5422/fso/9780823224159.003.0007
Storming the Work: Allegory and Theatricality in Benjamin’s Origin of the German Mourning Play

Preview

This chapter concentrates mainly on Benjamin's study of German baroque theater. Benjamin points out that German Trauerspiel and Greek tragedy are two different genres. He argues that the latter is more focused on the self while the former is being run by a Christian hegemony. The chapter also explores Benjamin's explanation of how his study directly addresses the current problems of contemporary literature, which is concerned with the issues of using a formal language. Benjamin basically wanted to prove that allegory should not be taken for granted and should be recognized not just as a second-rate artistic technique. Benjamin found that theater acquired a new role of presenting historical and political issues as allegories. Theater portrays a paradigmatic institution where meaning is corrupted through the depreciation of works or activities that are given narrative meanings.

Keywords: Trauerspiel; tragedy; mourning play; baroque theater; allegory; meaning

Chapter.  8500 words. 

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